We as a society are going through really tough times. Life has always been uncertain but the level of turmoil around us has risen exponentially in the past few years. The extremely awful events unfolding around the world whether it is the pandemic, wars, fights, rising prices of goods, climate change, or natural disasters, it is all piling up and coming together. This very difficult phase has taken a toll on our mental health. We have started feeling very uncertain, disturbed, and gloomy.
So how do we keep on going forward in life, how do we deal with all these things, how do we face the feelings and emotions that arise within as a result of all the activities? Even if we are not directly affected by a certain event it still has a lasting effect on our mental well-being. So how do we continue to find grounding and a sense of calm, stability and peace while living among this whirlwind of problems. Whatever you are struggling with, if you feel like you need a friend, some support, something to hold on to, gratitude is the answer.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is a deep feeling that we are and have always been dependent on this universe, our family and friends, our society for our survival and welfare. It is a reverence that we are never really independent but in coexistence with the universe. The fact that we are breathing is a culmination of various things in the universe coming together, supporting us, helping us to be exactly where we are and who we are. It is very easy, with a lot of things playing on our mind, to get lost in this world. It is quite easy to forget about the blessings that we have, to neglect what we have and only focus on what we don’t have. This is where gratitude enters. Gratitude is the feeling that reminds us that we are blessed and supported.
Gratitude as a practice
There are numerous ways to make gratitude a part of your daily life. The first and the most popular way is by using affirmations. You can create a set of gratitude affirmations for yourself. For example, I am grateful for____, I am thankful for ____, I am blessed with _____, and you can fill in the gaps with anything good you have in your life. You can maintain a gratitude journal and make it a habit to write into the journal every single day at least one thing that you are grateful for. You can do it in the morning, before going to bed or during the day, whenever you want.
In the beginning, you might find it difficult to think about the better aspects of your life. But you have to begin. It can be any simple thing such as the fresh air, my family, the food that I eat, other resources that I have or my house. Another way is to watch videos about gratitude and affirmations. This will make your mind habitual to draw attention to the good stuff. Be fully honest with yourself, you don’t need to fake it till you make it. Repeat these sentences to yourself whenever you feel like you are not in your space.
Gratitude as a ritual
Once you get used to the practice of gratitude, you will start to notice that your mind has become habitual to it and it has started believing and seeing the amazing things that it can be grateful for. This is when you start having gratitude as a ritual in your life. You can repeatedly be grateful throughout your day for the good things that you have which will bring your attention away from all the negative things and on the positive things in your life. It will help you to see life in a balanced way.
Gratitude as a realization
This is the next phase when you finally realize that you don’t need to practice gratitude as a routine or you don’t need any tool or any exercise to be grateful. This is when you finally realize that all the things, good or bad, the things which are according to your plans and those that are not, the things that you can control and cannot control and those that feel helpful, painful, stressful, or relieving, everything that happens or does not happen, are supporting you in every possible way.
It is helping you to grow and learn, to become a better person, or to acquire the necessary skills that you need in your life or in your profession, helping you evolve your relations. So, all the things that are seemingly good or bad are shaping you, giving you the right direction, showing you the meaning of your life, showing you who you are and what are you meant to do.
Benefits of gratitude
When you practice gratitude, you will be able to see the benefits for yourself. Practicing gratitude daily will help you feel positive and grounded. It will give you a sense of calm. It will focus your attention on the positive things, your mind and your thinking will become positive. You will also start seeing life in a more meaningful way. You will be able to see the complete picture and not get stuck up on things that don’t go your way.
It will become easier for you to face failures and return from setbacks. It will make you feel happy because it will show you that there are many small little simple things that can give you happiness beyond the materialistic pleasures. You will start to let go of the things that you cannot control and take charge of the things that are actually in your control. Of course, it will not solve your problems, but it will make you more productive and solution-oriented. You will finally realize what you have is amazing and you are awesome.
Integrating gratitude into your lifestyle will reward your mental well-being, heart, and soul. Ultimately, you are in control of your own happiness and no one else. Find inner peace and satisfaction with this magical tool.